Understanding The Research Paper Format: Harvard Style Guidelines


Before you start writing your Harvard style research paper, you should understand all the requirements assigned by your professor. It is also recommended to do a brief study of the sources, so you will learn more about the subject matter and ensure that you have enough materials to reveal the topic. Then, you need to learn how to express your ideas in the Harvard format.


This format is one of the oldest and well-known ones designed in order to help students prepare their assignments, cite the sources, and compose reference lists in an appropriate way. The following guidelines provide all the important information on the peculiarities of the format:


  • Keep it simple.
  • The Harvard style is widely used because of its simplicity. Most restrictions refer to the citation formatting while the text of the document can be organized in the manner that seems right for its author. You can always consult your supervisor if you have any questions.


  • Learn the basics.
  • You can find a referencing guide in the school library or academic writing center. There, you can also find general requirements for citing the informational sources in the assignment. Provide the name of the author, publication year, publisher, and the place of publication.


  • Pay special attention to in-text citations.
  • This style requires you to provide in-text citations that include the writer’s name, year of publication, and the page that refers to the quotation or citation. It is a good idea to use a special bibliographical software that allows students cite while they are writing. It also helps to generate the list of references automatically.


  • Make the document user-friendly.
  • Although the Harvard style seems to be not that strict, comparing to the MLA and APA, you should spend some time to make your paper reader-friendly. It is recommended to use Times New Roman font and double space throughout the text. You can use either 12th or 14th font. Sometimes, it makes sense to use the 12th font only for the list of references.


  • Check the latest version of the format.
  • Since the style is very popular, it is being updated and reviewed on a constant basis, so it is necessary to check the latest version. Do not hesitate to visit the school writing center to ask its instructor what important details you should keep in mind. It is advisable to get a research paper writing tutorial with tips and examples.


You should use the correct formatting from the stage of creating a rough draft. Citing while you are writing will save your time and effort. However, remember to revise the document after everything is ready.